by Larry Smith
Last October the government tabled an historic Freedom of Information Bill in Parliament - fulfilling a key election pledge. This law is expected to be debated this month.
Some have called the proposed legislation weak, arguing that it defers too much power to Cabinet and includes too many exemptions. Others say it is a big step towards more openness, but success will depend on how robust the implementation process is.
The Bill is an almost verbatim copy of the Freedom of Information Act passed by the Cayman Islands legislature in 2007. That law was formulated over a period of years by a Cabinet Office working group which looked at similar legislation enacted by Britain, Canada and other West Indian islands.
The Cayman government created a 16-member steering committee after the law was passed to guide the project to completion. And a separate implementation committee was also appointed, headed by a Jamaican civil rights lawyer, which was responsible for training, awareness and procedures.